Posted by: coastlinesproject | August 30, 2012

15 amazing images of Isaac, TS Kirk and Leslie in the wings. Air Worldwide analysis. LA orders evacuations near Mississippi dam. One death, dam expected to fail in Mississippi. Isaac, plods on toward parched Midwest.

Hurricane Isaac: 15 amazing images

Hurricane Isaac has been downgraded to a tropical depression. But the once formidable storm was the source of stunning images both from outer space and on the ground. Here’s a compilation of eye-popping images….

Hurricane Isaac just prior to landfall Tuesday, August 28. (NOAA)

Via NASA: This visible true color image of Hurricane Isaac was taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument onboard NASA’s Aqua satellite on Aug. 29 at 2:50 p.m. EDT after it had made its second landfall.

Via NOAA: At 1:35 p.m. CDT on August 28, 2012 the recently launched Suomi NPP satellite flew over Isaac, capturing this image of the storm with the true color capability of the VIIRS sensor.

Wind streamlines wrapping into Isaac’s center just after landfall Wednesday morning. Part of personal art project created by Google scientists, (

TRMM satellite 3-D view of rainfall on Aug. 28 showed a few very powerful thunderstorms near Isaac’s eye were reaching heights of almost 10.6 miles. (NASA)

The Suomi-NPP satellite captured a night view of then-Tropical Storm Isaac in the Gulf of Mexico. (NASA)

Via NASA: Using data from TRMM’s Microwave Imager (TMI) and Precipitation Radar (PR) instruments showed that intense bands of rain around Isaac were occasionally dropping rain at a rate of over 70 mm/hour (~2.75 inches) (just prior to landfall Wednesday).

Via NASA: This visible true color image of Hurricane Isaac was taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradometer (MODIS) instrument onboard NASA’s Terra satellite on Aug. 29 at 1:15 p.m. EDT after it had made its second landfall.

Braithwaite, La.

Sam Maltese, right, wipes his face while being rescued from his flooded home, as Lanny LaFrance steers the boat in Braithwaite, La. (David J. Phillip / AP)

Upload photos of flooding to our Isaac Community Photos gallery!

@NOLAnews this was taken from a three story Braithewaite home.

Biloxi and Gulfport

Water rises over the piers in the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor behind the Hard Rock Casino as Hurricane Isaac passes through Biloxi, Mississippi, August 29, 2012. (MICHAEL SPOONEYBARGER – REUTERS)

Waves from Hurricane Isaac batter the a pier, Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012, in Gulfport, Miss. Isaac pelted parts of south Mississippi with heavy rains, flooding some homes in low-lying areas and turning parts of beachside U.S. Highway 90 into a river near Biloxi casinos. (John Bazemore – AP)

LaPlace, La.

A sherriff’s vehicle sits in flood waters caused by Isaac, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, north of LaPlace, La, off Lake Pontchartrain. (Eric Gay – AP)

A car sits submerged in the flood waters of Hurricane Isaac in the River Forest subdivision on August 29, 2012 in LaPlace, Louisiana. (Chris Graythen – GETTY IMAGES)

New Orleans

Two men navigate a sidewalk along a drenched Canal Street as Hurricane Isaac arrives in New Orleans. (Ricky Carioti / The Washington Post)


Riding out Isaac, with mac and cheese

View Photo Gallery: Floodwaters surged into scattered neighborhoods in the suburbs of New Orleans early Thursday, even as Isaac’s once-powerful winds tapered off and the storm meandered north.

AIR Worldwide
August 29, 2012
Slow Moving Hurricane Isaac Continues to Pound the Gulf CoastFirst landfall location and Intensity: August 28 at 7:45 p.m. CDT, at southernmost Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana; Category 1 Hurricane with 80 mph winds and a central pressure of 968 mb
Second landfall location and Intensity: August 29 at 2:15 a.m. CDT, west of Port Fourchon, Louisiana; Category 1 Hurricane with 80 mph winds and a central pressure of 969 mb
Current location: As of 10:00 AM CDT, 29.6°N, 90.7°W; currently at Houma, Louisiana and 45 miles SW of New Orleans, Louisiana
Movement: Northwest at 6 mph
Maximum sustained winds: 75 mph
Minimum central pressure: 972 mb
Hurricane warning: Metropolitan New Orleans, Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas. Also, the area east of Morgan City, Louisiana, to the Mississippi-Alabama border
Hurricane watch: From Intracoastal City to Morgan City, Louisiana
Tropical storm warning: The area from the Mississippi-Alabama border to Destin, Florida, and from Morgan City, Louisiana, to Sabine Pass, Texas
Tropical storm watch: The area east of High Island, Texas, to west of Sabine Pass, Texas
Other hazards: Flooding due to heavy rain; some flooding due to storm surge. Storm surges could reach 6 to 12 feet in Mississippi and southeastern Louisiana, 3 to 6 feet in Alabama, 3 to 6 feet in south-central Louisiana, and 2 to 4 feet in the Florida panhandle and Apalachee Bay.
ClimateCast U.S. Hurricane Risk Index: 1.0Note that ALERT subscribers will be notified by separate email when event sets are available on the ALERT website.Current Conditions

By 7:00 a.m. CDT this morning (8:00 a.m. EDT), Isaac had made two separate landfalls, both as a Category 1 hurricane. The first occurred on August 28 at low-lying Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, at around 7:45 p.m. CDT. Instead of continuing inland as expected, the storm veered sharply to the southwest and re-emerged over the water, which allowed it to maintain its strength. It then made a second landfall this morning just west of Port Fourchon, Louisiana, at around 2:15 a.m. CDT.

As of 10:00 a.m. CDT, the storm is still a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained wind speeds of 75 mph. The center of the storm is currently over Houma, southwest of New Orleans and it is moving NW at 6 mph with a central pressure of 972 mb. In southeastern Louisiana, sustained winds of 40-55 mph have been reported, with gusts as high as 100 mph; a gust of 113 mph was reported in Belle Chasse. The area is being pelted with heavy rains along with gusty winds. Flooding and storm surge warnings are in effect. Heavy flooding has occurred in Plaquemines Parish, where a 9-foot earthen levee was overtopped. The water level at the Jourdan River, near Diamond Head, Mississippi, is expected to reach 9.5 feet over the next 24 hours; the river is currently at a moderate flood level of 8.7 feet.

Reported Impacts

Isaac remains a large storm; hurricane force winds extend 60 miles from the center. Storm surge has been exacerbated by the storm’s slow forward speed.

Two levees in sparsely populated Plaquemines Parish were overtopped, but no breaches have been reported. The levees in this region are generally earthen barriers, around nine feet tall and not upgraded since Hurricane Katrina. As a result of the overtopping, flooding is reported across an 18-mile area reaching from St. Bernard Parish south to White Ditch. Plaquemines Parish has up to 12 feet of water, and some homes in the Braithwaite area are submerged up to the rooftops. Many residents there are stranded in flooded homes and rescue operations are underway. Elsewhere, a storm surge of up to 12 feet was reported at Shell Beach, Louisiana, and 3-5 feet of flooding has occurred in Biloxi Bay.

In New Orleans, 6-10 inches of rain have fallen. Although some streets in the city have been made impassable by flooding from precipitation and downed trees, the fortified levees have held. Isaac has put to test the massive USD $14.5 billion flood control system built in the area by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in response to Hurricane Katrina. The walls, levees, pumps, and huge floodgates are designed to withstand a Category 3 hurricane, equivalent to Hurricane Katrina whose storm surge breached the levees at the time killing 1,500 people and causing over USD $80 billion in damage. The system includes upgraded levees, and 73 floodgates in five parishes including a 2-mile floodgate that stands 26 feet high at the upper end of Lake Borgne. This barrier, the largest of its kind in the world, has been closed for the first time since it was built.

High winds and saturated soil have allowed dozens of trees to be blown over causing damage, downed power lines, and road blockage. Some roof damage has been reported with several roofs being torn off homes from strong winds. Most of the businesses in New Orleans are closed and a significant police and military force is in place to maintain safety. Flights to and from New Orleans are cancelled and at least two airlines, United and Southwest, have said they will not resume operating there until Thursday.

According to several energy companies including Entergy, Alabama Power, and Cleco, over 520,000 homes and businesses in Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi are currently experiencing power outages. Most of these outages are in southeastern Louisiana.

Power outages as reported by, as of 3:00 a.m., August 29
The majority of single-family homes along the Louisiana Coast are of wood-frame construction, with an exterior of masonry veneer. At the current Category 1 wind speeds, some of these structures could experience moderate damage to the roofs and exterior walls. Failure of roofing components would occur mainly because of improper fastening between the roof system and building frame.

As the winds persist, roof fasteners and connections can become fatigued and overloaded causing additional damage. There is also the possibility of damage from flying building debris, such as roof tiles and shingles, which generally increases with increasing duration of high winds.

Building codes and enforcement have also improved in recent years. In 2007, the state of Louisiana adopted statewide building codes. That same year, updated codes were also enforced in Baldwin County, Alabama, where they had been implemented earlier in 2001, in Mobile. Updated codes were also enforced in 2006 in five coastal counties in Mississippi. However, inland counties in Mississippi and Alabama are currently not covered by any statewide structural design regulations.

Earlier in Isaac’s trek through the Gulf, severe street flooding was reported in Palm Beach and Broward counties in Florida, and in Charleston, South Carolina. Wellington, Florida, has received 16 inches of rain since Sunday. Yesterday, flooding in Tampa affected traffic near the Republican National Convention when three downtown streets had to be closed. A tornado spawned by Hurricane Isaac damaged homes in Vero Beach, Florida. Damage was also reported in Destin, where a boardwalk was destroyed.

Offshore Impacts

Evacuations from platforms and rigs located offshore for oil and gas production continue from yesterday. According to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), as of 11:30 AM August 28, out of the 596 manned oil and gas production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, 503 (84%) have been evacuated. Out of the 76 rigs currently in operation, 49 (64%) have been evacuated. Rigs are mobile and move between locations unlike production platforms, which are situated permanently in one location.

The shut-in process is underway to close the safety valves located below the water surface. As of August 28, shut-in has occurred for approximately 93% of the current daily oil production and 67% of the daily gas production in the Gulf of Mexico. This has affected the energy production; the U.S. Department of Energy estimates the disruption of crude oil refinement will reduce output, normally about 3 million barrels per day, by about 12%. No damage to offshore exposure is reported; however, the disruption makes it likely that the U.S. Government will release oil supplies from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Forecast and Intensity

Currently, the storm is moving through a weak area in the subtropical ridge and its motion is uncertain. A mid-level anti-cyclone is expected to shift eastward over the continent in the coming days and will cause Isaac to turn towards the northeast. Now that the storm has moved inland, however, it should begin to weaken to tropical storm status later today and, finally, to a tropical depression by tomorrow.

This is a slow-moving storm, however, and heavy rains of 2-4 inches per hour are expected to continue according to Accuweather, which would cause flooding to continue in the northern Gulf Coast through tomorrow. The area may receive up to 20 inches of rain, which could potentially cause damage to crops, particularly cotton, which is at 2/3 open boll.

NHC 5-day Forecast Track and Cone of Uncertainty for Tropical Storm Isaac
AIR’s Tropical Cyclone team continues to monitor Isaac closely and will provide additional information on the development and impacts of this storm. ALERT subscribers can expect to be notified when event sets for Isaac’s impacts on onshore properties in the U.S. are available for download.

La. orders evacuation after Miss. dam threatened
From Associated Press

August 30, 2012 11:53 AM EDT

MCCOMB, Miss. (AP) — Louisiana officials have ordered evacuation of low-lying, sparsely-populated areas along the Tangipahoa River because an Isaac-hammered dam at a state park lake in southwest Mississippi near the Louisiana border is in danger of failing.Officials in Tangipahoa Parish, La., fear the water it would pour into the already swollen river would flood low-lying areas downstream from the park.But Mississippi officials say they don’t believe the volume of water in the 700-acre lake at Percy Quin State Park near McComb, Miss., would add enough flow to threaten communities downstream.

Isaac claims fatality as thousands forced to evacuate

By Josh Levs and Chelsea J. Carter, CNN
updated 10:47 AM EDT, Thu August 30, 2012
Rescue workers transport residents trapped by rising water from Isaac in LaPlace, Louisiana, on Wednesday, August 29. Officials warn of continued threats from storm surges and flooding as the hurricane-turned-tropical storm moves inland.Rescue workers transport residents trapped by rising water from Isaac in LaPlace, Louisiana, on Wednesday, August 29. Officials warn of continued threats from storm surges and flooding as the hurricane-turned-tropical storm moves inland.
  • NEW: Isaac has had a “major impact,” Mississippi governor tells CNN
  • A falling tree killed one man in Mississippi, authorities say
  • More than 978,000 customers don’t have power in Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi
  • A Mississippi dam “is expected to fail,” the National Weather Service says

Have you been affected by Isaac? Share your photos here.

(CNN) — Authorities warned people in a handful of towns outside New Orleans to get out early Thursday ahead of rising water brought on by hurricane-turned-tropical storm Isaac, which dumped more than 20 inches of rain in some areas.

The warning came as the storm claimed its first fatality. A tow truck driver attempting to clear debris on a road in Mississippi was struck by a falling tree, officials said. The incident took place at midnight, said Amanda Harris, deputy director of the Pearl River County Emergency Management office.

The National Weather Service said it received reports of the fatality in Picayune, Mississippi.

Isaac has had a “major impact” on Mississippi, Gov. Phil Bryant told CNN in Gulfport. “This is a man-made beach,” he said of where he was standing. “Most of that sand is gone. Thousands of homes have been damaged; people have been out of their homes and will be.”

Storm trackerStorm tracker

Isaac leaves residents stranded

Parish official on controlled levee breaks

Family recounts rescue

The state had 70 rescues along the Gulf Coast overnight, he said.

State by state: Isaac soaks region

On Louisiana’s border with Mississippi, residents of Washington Parish were alerted that the Bogue Chitto River was expected to rise by 14 feet overnight.

To the southwest, in St. John Parish, National Guard troops looked for people stranded after thousands were forced to flee when a surge forced water over the banks of Lake Pontchartrain.

Residents get saved from rooftops

“What we’re doing is we have got law enforcement and fire personnel who are going door to door to notify people,” Tommy Thiebaud, the Washington Parish director of emergency services, told CNN early Thursday.

Meanwhile in Plaquemines Parish, southeast of New Orleans, 3,000 people remained in an area close to an 8-foot-tall levee that was threatened by rising waters, Gov. Bobby Jindal’s office said.

About 100 people who had ignored an evacuation order were rescued Wednesday in a flooded part of the parish, officials said. On Thursday, authorities from the sheriff’s office and National Guard “will begin looking house to house to make sure they got everyone,” Parish President Billy Nungesser said.

“We didn’t have time to panic,” Rafael Delgadillo of Braithwaite, Louisiana, told CNN on Thursday. He, his wife and daughter were rescued by a neighbor Wednesday. “We were in survivor mode,” he said.

Nearly a million customers were without electricity across Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. Utility companies reported more than 978,000 customers without power.

Water boiling advisories were being issued in a number of towns and cities along the Gulf Coast.

Open Story: Isaac soaks Gulf Coast

Isaac was centered 55 miles southeast of Alexandria, Louisiana, early Thursday, moving slowly at about 8 mph with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph, the National Weather Service said.

A flash flood emergency was issued for Slidell, Louisiana. Surge flooding from Bayou Bonfouca and the W-14 canal gushed into parts of the city, and sudden inundation of up to 5 feet was possible in low-lying areas, the National Weather Service said.

Evacuations were under way in the city Thursday morning.

Isaac damages could reach $1.5 billion

Slow-moving Isaac floods region

Evacuee: ‘The water kept coming’

Plaquemines Parish residents rescued

Authorities expected some street flooding in a few subdivisions on the south side of town, “but at present, that street flooding is minimal,” the city said in a statement Thursday morning.

“There is water all around me,” Vincent Molino, who lives in the area, told CNN in an iReport. “It looks like my home is in a lake. The area is completely flooded … pretty much the whole neighborhood has three to five feet of water. We saw a big military vehicle stop by to ask us if we are OK.

“It is strange that the water is going down really slowly.

“The most amazing thing is that I still have power,” Molino said.

At Mississippi’s Lake Tangipahoa, a dam is “expected to fail,” the National Weather Service said, issuing a flash flood warning until 11:15 a.m. CT (12:16 p.m. ET). Water levels could reach 8 feet, the service said.

If that happens, pastures and woodlands, along with some crops near the river, would be inundated, and parts of a highway would become impassable, forecasters said.

Throughout parts of the Gulf Coast, the National Weather Service warned, “life-threatening hazards from storm surge and inland flooding are still occurring.”

Tornado touches down in Mississippi

Isaac is believed to have spawned three tornadoes overnight in Mississippi and Alabama, the weather service said.

Tornadoes are suspected to be behind damage in Gulfport and Jackson, Mississippi, while a twister is blamed for knocking down power lines and damaging a home in Geneva, Alabama.

President Barack Obama signed major disaster declarations for Louisiana and Mississippi after slow-moving Isaac pummeled the Gulf Coast, dropping more than 20 inches of rain in some locations and creating a dangerous storm surge.

Isaac made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane seven years after Hurricane Katrina swept ashore in Louisiana and Mississippi. Katrina is blamed for the deaths of 1,800 people, most in New Orleans after the levee system failed and the city flooded.

Photos: Remembering Katrina

Isaac’s greatest punch bypassed New Orleans.

The city reported relatively minor damage from the storm, and officials said there were at least a dozen incidents of looting. New Orleans Police said arrests were made in each case, but didn’t specify how many people were involved or where the arrests occurred.

Still, New Orleans will continue to face some pounding rain Thursday, forecasters say.

“This storm took forever to get here, and now it doesn’t want to leave,” said Lt. Col. Jerry Sneed, deputy mayor in charge of public safety.

National Guard troops and authorities searched St. John the Baptist Parish for people trapped by up to 6 feet of water.

By late Wednesday, about 1,500 people had been evacuated from the parish, and another 1,500 were expected to leave their homes, Jindal’s office said.

How to help Gulf Coast residents

Dozens of buses moved residents out of flooded portions of the parish, while authorities worked to rescue others.

“We’re continuing to rescue people from different areas throughout the parish,” Paige Falgoust, communications director for St. John the Baptist Parish, said early Thursday. “Our main focus right now is getting people out of their homes.”

The storm surge from Lake Pontchartrain came quickly and “in a different way from what we were expecting,” Falgoust said.

The surge was unusually bad in LaPlace, about 25 miles northwest of New Orleans, where many people had been rescued or still needed to escape rapidly rising water.

By Thursday morning, at least 200 rescues had taken place, parish officials said.

How to stay safe when the lights go out

Dusk-to-dawn curfews were in effect from New Orleans to Baton Rouge, where authorities were urging residents to stay inside and ride out the slow-moving storm.

In Plaquemines Parish, an initial estimate showed that as many as 800 homes may have received significant water damage, Jindal said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported a significant storm surge in the parish, which was the scene of many rescues. One involved National Guard troops who moved 112 residents from the Riverbend nursing home to another facility.

Officials were considering intentionally breaching the levee downstream to allow some of the floodwater to flow back out of the inundated area, Jindal said.

That could happen as early as Saturday, said Nungesser, the parish president. The Times-Picayune reported that digging could begin as early as Thursday.

Airports from Baton Rogue to Biloxi were closed until at least Thursday as the stubborn storm continued to saturate the region.

In Mississippi’s Hancock County, near the Louisiana border, National Guard troops rescued dozens of people stranded by the storm surge Wednesday.

Joey Amann thought he and his family would be safe after Isaac made landfall until he saw the fast-rising water.

At that point, he knew he had to get his family out of their home, Amann told CNN affiliate WLOX.

That’s when he called for help, and the National Guard responded.

CNN’s Leslie Tripp, Brian Todd, Soledad O’Brien, Ed Lavandera, Martin Savidge, John Zarrella, Chandler Friedman, Anika Chin, Mike Ahlers, Aaron Cooper and Ed Payne contributed to this report.

Isaac weakens but drenches Louisiana and Mississippi as it plods toward Midwest

  • comments0

Updated at 8:19 a.m. ET

(CBS/AP) NEW ORLEANS – Tropical Storm Isaac continued to pound Louisiana and Mississippi Thursday as the immense, slow-moving system weakened over land while trudging roughly north.

By Thursday morning, Isaac’s maximum sustained winds had decreased to 45 mph and the National Hurricane Center said it was expected to become a tropical depression by Thursday night, meaning its top sustained winds would drop below 39 mph. The storm’s center was on track to cross Arkansas on Friday and southern Missouri on Friday night, spreading rain as it goes.

The hurricane center said in its 8 a.m. ET advisory that Isaac was about 35 miles southeast of Alexandria, La., and was heading northwest at 8 mph.

Forecasters expected Isaac to move farther inland over the next several days, dumping rain on drought-stricken states across the nation’s midsection before finally breaking up over the weekend.

CBS News hurricane consultant David Bernard reports from CBS Miami station WFOR-TV that Isaac’s final rainfall totals for southern Louisiana could be 18-30 inches. Bernard reports that the storm’s feeder bands still posed a flooding threat for the Louisiana capital of Baton Rouge, north of New Orleans.

Escaping the floods in Plaquemines Parish
Isaac steers clear of direct blow on New Orleans
Intentional breach weighed as Isaac batters La.

The rain fell almost constantly for more than a day, flooding neighborhoods in a rural part of the state and in neighboring Mississippi. Officials had to respond quickly because the waters were rising fast — even as Isaac meandered slowly northward Thursday on a path toward Arkansas.

With water still trapped between two floodwalls in Plaquemines Parish, a sparsely populated area south of New Orleans that is outside the federal levee system, officials are considering cutting 10-15-feet-wide holes in a levee to let the standing water drain back into the Mississippi River and marshland, CBS News correspondent Byron Pitts reports from New Orleans.

Along the shores of Lake Ponchartrain, officials sent scores of buses and dozens of high-water vehicles to help evacuate about 3,000 people as rising waters lapped against houses and left cars stranded. Floodwaters rose waist-high in some neighborhoods, and the Louisiana National Guard was working with sheriff’s deputies to rescue people stranded in their homes.

Early Thursday, a Coast Guard helicopter hoisted a couple and their dogs from a home in LaPlace, near the lake, after storm surge poured into their neighborhood and local authorities called for help. The couple was taken to New Orleans and reported in good condition.

“The husband and wife and their two dogs were in an area where a lot of houses washed away,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jorge Porto. “They used a flashlight inside the house as a signaling device, which made all the difference in locating them effectively.”

The floodwaters “were shockingly fast-rising, from what I understand from talking to people,” Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne said. “It caught everybody by surprise.”


In Plaquemines Parish, dozens of people were stranded in flooded coastal areas and had to be rescued. The storm pushed water over an 18-mile levee and put so much pressure on it that authorities planned to intentionally puncture the floodwall to relieve the strain.

Officials rushed to evacuate more than 100 nursing home residents from Plaquemines Parish, an area with a reputation for weathering storms and perhaps the hardest hit by Isaac. In this hardscrabble, mostly rural parish, even the sick and elderly are hardened storm veterans.

“I don’t think we had to evacuate to begin with,” said Romaine Dahl, 59, as he sat in a wheelchair Wednesday. “The weather was a hell of a lot worse last night than it is now. And I got an idea that after all this is said and done they’re going to say everything is over with, go on back home.”

At left, watch video of a levee in Plaquemines Parish being overtopped as filmed by storm chaser Jeff Piotrowski

Other residents in the Riverbend Nursing and Rehabilitation Center were loaded into ambulances and taken to a nearby naval station. Residents had their names and birth dates attached to their shirts.

Josephine King, 84, handled the move well, waiting in a wheelchair. “I’m feeling good,” she said.

By mid-afternoon Wednesday, Isaac had been downgraded to a tropical storm. The Louisiana National Guard ceased rescue operations in Plaquemines Parish, saying it felt confident it had gotten everyone out. There were no serious injuries. National Guard spokesman Capt. Lance Cagnolatti said guardsmen would stay in the area over the coming days to help.

Isaac’s whistling winds lashed New Orleans and the storm dumped nearly a foot of rain on its desolate streets, but the system of levee pumps, walls and gates appeared to withstand one of the stiffest challenges yet.

President Obama declared federal emergencies in Louisiana and Mississippi late Wednesday, according to a statement from the White House. The disaster declarations free up federal aid for affected areas.

Isaac arrived seven years after Hurricane Katrina and passed slightly to the west of New Orleans, where the city’s fortified levee system easily handled the assault.

“Unfortunately, that’s not been the case for low-lying areas outside the federal system, in particular lower Jefferson and Plaquemines parishes,” said Louisiana Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu. “Hurricane Isaac has reinforced for us once again just how vulnerable these critical areas are. We must re-engage the Corps of Engineers on this.”

 Read more in Just Seconds from the Ocean; Coastal Living in the Wake of Katrina and Beach Wars; 10,000 Years on a Barrier Beach. See UPNE and Strawberry Hill press tabs at the top of this page.

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